Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Bones We Carry Poems and Short Prose by the Streetfeet Women. Chris Fadala, Beatrice Greene, Elena Harap, Mary Millner McCullough, Li Min Mo, and Aura Sanchexz. (Streetfeet Press 30 Brastow Ave. Somerville, Ma. 02143) $10.
The Streetfeet Women is a group that was founded in Boston in 1982 by Somerville resident Mary McCullough and Elena Harap.
It is a collective formed to create works celebrating the way ordinary women live their lives. In this collection by the Streetfleet women: "The Bones We Carry," there is poetry and prose by Chris Fadala, Beatrice Greene, Elena Harap, Mary McCullough, Li Min Mo, and Aura Sanchez. The arresting cover image titled: "Night Rider" was created by Bagel Bard Li Min Mo, and included is artwork from Veronique Epiter. This is an anthology that has veteran writers who have perfected their craft over the years. Being a poet more than anything else, I chose to focus on a sampling of poems.
Li Min Mo's "Old Woman" captures an artist staring at her own face and wondering about the passage of time--the way it becomes chiseled in one's face:
" staring at the mirror:
what's behind this old face?
lines, discolor of age,
old tree bark, my cheeks;...
hollows, bags, crow's feet,
disappearing eyebrows, lips,
the neck's fold, three or four times,
because old age just can't decide on one idea of a portrait."
Mo points out later that the vessel may be old but : " one arm dances with sunlight and the other still wraps/
around the moon."
Being a fan of Jazz, and an admirer of John Coltrane, I enjoyed Beatrice Greene's: "Jazz: Listening to Dr. Dr. John Coltrane." Greene examines the transforming aspect of the music and the affect it has on the listener:
"You move in suspended time and space
Reconfiguring our electromagnetic essence.
Our minds, bodies, spirits enraptured;
sometimes in meditative stillness.
Transformed, we find ourselves
breathing as if by the ocean
where we birthed."
And in a study of a daughter bemoaning the state of a mother firmly in dotage and decline, Mary McCullough writes a masterful portrait of the matriarchal shadow the mother is now in: "Assurance":
hands that once braided my hair
rest in mother's lap
she sits in a chair
placed against a drab hospital wall,
converses in monotones
with her invisible listeners.
i search for a niche in her flatness,
proof of her former wholeness.
i, a nonbeliever,
address the guardian angels
of mothers and daughters,
pray for a miracle,
let her remember my name.